Re: [OPE-L] monetary macro interpretation

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat May 27 2006 - 11:07:36 EDT

>Hi Rakesh, thanks for your response.
>I don't know what it means to say that an individual firm does not produce
>surplus-value, that only the total social capital produces surplus-value.

Well let's see if we can guess at what King's Lexis may be saying.

Take's Graham's point about the ontology of social wholes. While each member
of an academic senate casts a vote on the termination of an academic
no one can terminate the department; only the academic senate can do that.

How about moving a piano up a set of stairs? It's not that Amir and
Sam each move
it a bit up the stairs. The piano is moved (if it is moved at all) by
and no one else. The subject who moves the piano is necessarily collective.

It seems to me that King's Lexis is saying something along these lines.

To the extent that no one firm will have produced surplus value
unless other firms
have appropriated socially valid surplus social labor time as well,
surplus value is only
produced at the level of the whole, total social capital. It is an
irreducibly cooperative
result. For one firm's workers to have produced surplus value,
workers at other firms
will have to have expended socially valid surplus labor time as well.

It's not as if surplus value is concrete as in corn economy in which
each firm would put
so much surplus corn into a common pool
after it has subtracted necessary input corn from total corn production.

>To begin with (as I am sure you know), the surplus labor of workers
>produces surplus-value, not capital, neither an individual capital nor the
>total social capital.

Yes. agreed.

>Each and every worker produces surplus-value.

why do you say that? how would you prove that.

>  The quantity of
>surplus-value produced by each worker (Si) is determined by the surplus
>labor of each worker (SLi), as follows:
>         Si  =  m SLi  =  m (CLi - NLi)          (CL is current labor)
>                                                 (NL is necessary labor)
>The total surplus-value produced by the working class as a whole is
>determined by adding up the surplus-value produced by each individual

Well we know that certain kinds of production are not the aggregate
results of the contributions of single workers but only possible on
the basis of cooperative labor. The building of the pyramids
or a dam. It would make no sense
to tally up the marginal contribution of each worker
to the completion of these tasks, for without a minimum of workers,
laboring in concert, the task could not be done at all;
to the extent that it is done,
it is the result of their cooperation, of their collective labor.
Who has built the pyramids? No single worker has built it in part.
A collective subject built it to whatever completed state it is in.

Why can't it be the same with surplus value?  To the extent that there
is more or less of it, it is the result of the collective working class.

>         S  =  sum (Si)
>This total surplus-value is subsequently divided into individual parts:
>average industrial profit, commercial profit, interest, and rent.
>One could also say that the individual worker analyzed in Volume 1 is the
>average worker.  Then the total surplus-value would be determined by:
>         S  =  n Sa
>The average worker represents all workers together.  The average worker is
>the average of all workers.
>It is true that workers employed in a single firm do not produce
>surplus-value FOR THAT FIRM, in the sense that the surplus-value produced
>does not become profit for that particular firm.  Rather workers in
>individual firms (and in all individual firms) produce surplus-value for
>the total social capital.  And the total surplus-value produced by all
>workers for the total social capital is then distributed to individual
>industries and individual firms according to the capital invested and the
>average rate of profit.
>Rakesh, how do you determine the quantity of the total surplus-value?

That would just be the M', less the M in the economy as a whole.

>What are the equations?

>Are they any different from my equations above?  If so, how?
>If not, then what is the siginficance of the difference you are getting

I am hoping that Chris Arthur deepens the conversation since
I think he knows what I am getting at. But let me save my answer
for now, though I am getting at the reality of a class
subject against the bourgeois ontological commitment to the reality of
concrete individuals alone.

Marxist philosophy needs to take an ontological turn and enquire into
the nature
of being! Too much epistemology, methodenstreit.

Thanks for the response.

Yours, Rakesh

>I am not sure what Lexis did, but Marx clearly defined the composition of
>capital and the rate of profit for individual industries, as well as for
>the total social capital.  See, for example, C.I., the beginning of
>Chapter 25; and C.III. Part 2; etc.  The average rate of profit for the
>economy as a whole is the average (a weighted average) of the individual
>rates of profit of the individual industries.

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